100 Favorite Dishes

100 Favorite Dishes: No. 78, Melon and Texas Feta Salad at Beaver's

​This year leading up to our annual Best of Houston issue, we're counting down our 100 favorite dishes in Houston. This list comprises our favorite dishes from the last year, dishes that are essential to Houston's cultural landscape and/or dishes that any visitor (or resident) should try at least once.

People accustomed to salting their watermelon would do well to try this version of adding a little salty flavor to a summer favorite: feta with honeydew melon, courtesy of the kitchen at Beaver's (where, folks will be happy to know, things seem to be swimming merrily along despite Chef Jonathan Jones's attentions being fixed on Xuco Xicano currently).

The honeydew melon is at its greenest and sweetest right now, perfectly accented with fat white peaks of Brazos Valley raw feta. But although those two ingredients work wonderfully together, Beaver's didn't make a name for itself based on simplicity. The salad is also topped with roughly diced bacon, thin slices of fresh jalapeños, pumpkin seeds and pickled red onions that pack a tart little punch with each bite.

Finished off with a serrano-based vinaigrette that tastes bright and citrusy, the salad fires on multiple cylinders like a finely tuned machine: salty, sweet, spicy, meaty, tart, soft, crunchy, hot and cold all at once. You'll want to spend time over this salad, constructing every bite as such. This isn't a throwaway salad, a mere pit stop before the real show begins. This salad is a main event in and of itself.

The list so far:

No. 100: Dumplings at Heights Asian Cafe No. 99: Mixta Pizza at Friends Pizzeria No. 98: Veggie tacos from Radical Eats No. 97: Bean pie from Conscious Cafe No. 96: Swiss chard crepes from Giacomo's Cibo e Vino No. 95: Eggs Mia Bella at Mia Bella No. 94: Mulligatawny soup at the Queen Vic No. 93: Helado de Lúcuma from Pollo Bravo No. 92: Black bean burger from Natachee's No. 91: Chupacabra pizza from ERA No. 90: Roast chicken from El Norteño No. 89: Eggs El Salvador from Brasil No. 88: Frank the Pretzel from Eatsie Boys No. 87: Caldo Tlalpeño from Tacos del Julio No. 86: English pea soup at Brasserie 19 No. 85: Falafel from Zabak's No. 84: Buttermilk-fried pork loin with fried eggs at Canopy No. 83: Grillades and grits from BB's Cajun Cafe No. 82: Haemul dolsot from Seoul House No. 81: Pandan waffles at Parisian Bakery III No. 80: Pita bread and hummus at Phoenicia No. 79: Goat pepper soup at Peppersoup Cafe

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Katharine Shilcutt